It’s Over

Wednesday, 5 March 2008  |  Bullish Insights

It’s over. And, I still can’t believe how it all ended so quickly. Wasn’t it just exactly a month ago that we first met? It definitely was not love at first sight, but I knew in time I would take a liking to him. He made me feel cheerful, adventurous, and buoyant even. He challenged me to get my feet wet and go beyond untested waters. Sure, there’s a lot of fish in the sea, but he was the only one who taught me how to swim like a fish.

Okay, let me end there. That last sentence was pretty bad.

By now, you should have guessed that I’m not talking about a man (my hubby should be heaving a sigh of relief now) but about my Total Immersion swimming lessons with Nonoy Basa. Yesterday was the last day of my 8 TI sessions which I took with Dondi, a triathlete lawyer who I met in this class.

– Nonoy guiding Dondi through rythmic breathing –

The past month was an awesome learning experience for me at the pool. We started out with drills, drills, and more drills that initially made swimming more of a mental task than a physical one: keep your head down, stick your thumb out, lead with your shoulder, relax your hand…that was only the beginning of a long checklist that I played out in my mind as I did my skating drills. With so many things to remember, I thought I would forget to breathe!

After mastering one drill, we would progress to the next. With each session, it was a little bit easier to perform the drills—thank God to muscle memory! And, by the 5th and 6th session, we were finally doing laps using the TI technique. Yipee!

On the last session, Nonoy also attempted to teach me how to dive and tumble but, after snorting up half of the water in the pool, I gave up and rationalized, “We won’t need this for a triathlon in open water anyway, right?” Thankfully, Nonoy gave me one free extra session yesterday wherein I had my last chance to have a TI coach fix my form before I went out on my own.

Now that the classes are over, I know I’ve got to swim just as often to become better at this sport, build my endurace, and last but not the least, remember all the things we were taught! Wish me luck.

– Dedette, Nonoy’s past student taking a refresher course, Dondi, and Nonoy taking a break –

– With Nonoy and Dondi for our 2nd to the last session at San Juanico pool –

– The Bull Swimmer (?) with Dondi and Nonoy: It was great fun, guys! –

* For child/adult swimming lessons, call Aqualogic Swim Co. at (0917) 858 AQUA or visit their website.

Swimming For Runners

Monday, 4 February 2008  |  Running + Triathlon

Today, on the 22nd day of my forced leave from running, I finally took the plunge. I signed up for my very first swimming lesson with my batchmate from college, Nonoy Basa, who has been teaching Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion swimming style to kids and adults in Makati and Alabang.


– Nonoy Basa, my swimming coach and friend – 

Truth to tell, I walked by the pool area like a fish out of water—all wiggly and nervous and almost out of breath—because this was definitely not my territory. I never took formal swimming lessons; I only learned how to swim from my eldest brother a hundred summers ago. The last time I swam freestyle was in gradeschool when my classmates and I would play “shark” at a friend’s house. And, since I am not Heidi Klum, I haven’t really been comfortable wearing a swimsuit after giving birth to my two kids.

Thankfully, Nonoy made it easy for me and Dondi, another student who is a beginner triathlete, to feel at home in the pool.

The first thing Nonoy did was to show us how he swims. It was simply amazing. I could hardly notice when he would take a breath as he seemed to be completely submerged, gliding through the water, truly swimming like a fish (cliche as it may sound.) Then, it was our turn as he took videos of us doing our own strokes—gulp. Nonoy then showed us our videos and discussed our mistakes and told us the techniques he would be teaching us.

Step by step, Nonoy slowly and patiently taught us 4 or 5 drills to practice so that we could gradually get used to the method of TI. He would teach us one at a time making sure each of us got the position correctly. Seemingly innocuous drill names like Sweet Spot were quite challenging for a newbie swimmer like me to do without having water creep up my nose. But, after a couple of practices and tips from Nonoy, I could do them comfortably.

I liked the fact that TI focuses on engaging the core to propel forward. I thought that it truly will complement my running wherein core workouts are very important for support during those long distance runs. Swimming will also help exercise my upper body, an area that desperately needs toning to keep me in good form when I run. And, it will also help my feet become more flexible, a common problem for runners who have stiff ankles.

What was supposed to be a 1-hour session turned out to be more than 2 hours of fun for me. It was great to be diving (literally) into something new, engaging muscles that were rarely ever used during my runs, and getting a bit of a cardio workout at the same time. It’s also nice to know that I just took a tiny step closer towards my goal of becoming a future triathlete.

I know I am going to enjoy swimming. Having said that, will I exchange my running shoes for goggles anytime soon? Certainly not. It is still running for me. Besides, “The Bull Swimmer” doesn’t sound too catchy.

* For child/adult swimming lessons, call Aqualogic Swim Co. at (0917) 858 AQUA or visit their website.

A New Gameplan

Wednesday, 30 January 2008  |  Bullish Insights

I was planning to pay the doctor a visit yesterday but I decided otherwise. You see, I was simply planning to bombard the doctor with all the unanswered questions in my head such as “What am I going to do now? I’m gaining weight by the second!” or “Why did you tell me to run when I ended up limping after Clark?” But, after Monday’s therapy session, I pretty much got my enlightenment from the gracious therapist who answered all my queries.

This is what I learned about my injury from my therapist:

– My doctor did not stop me from running since, like I said, I only need strengthening and stretching exercises. But, since the pain seems to worsen after a run or even a treadmill walk, the therapist told me to resist the temptation until we’re sure I am fully recovered. As a mature, disciplined woman I nodded in agreement (but that’s after I dreamed of slapping her in the face. Kidding!)

– Those 5-minute bike warm-ups at the gym aggravated the injury (so that’s why I would limp my way out of the locker room everytime! Duh!) I was advsied to do none of the cardio machines at the gym: treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical. I can take that. They kinda bore me to death anyway.

– The only cardio I’m allowed to indulge in is (drum roll please): swimming.

Somehow, that last therapy session helped pull me out of the confused, injured state I was in and gave me a clearer vision of what I should be doing to get out of this rut. I’m a lot more hopeful now. Plus, I’m feeling great since I have felt no pain for the past couple of days.

Yesterday, I pretty much laid out my game plan for the month to help me stay fit despite the injury.

CARDIO: Swimming (4x a week)
STRENGTH: Weights at the gym (2x a week)
STRETCHING: Yogilates at home (2x a week), Squats plus other exercises ordered by PT (daily)

If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will. Here’s to a wet and wild month ahead!